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News for January 17, 2022

Promised Luxury RV Park Has Not Been Luxurious, Says Fremont County Commissioners

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The promise of an exceptional, luxury RV park located on Phantom Canyon Road (Colorado), so far, hasn’t been considered as luxurious by the county officials.

According to a report, the Fremont County Board of Commissioners tabled a decision to review a significant amendment to the current Special Review Use Permit held by Phantom Canyon RV Ranch, located at 505 County Road 67 in Penrose.

The board was informed of reports from Fremont County Planning & Zoning Director and the Fremont County Building Official that both expressed concerns about the property owners’ inability to conform with their current SRU.

The most significant modification calls for 20 additional travel self-contained trailers, modification of operational characteristics, installation of an on-site wastewater treatment system, reduction on recreation area, and the addition of 23,476 square feet of storage areas and structures.

The applicants’ representative, Dr. Angela Bellantoni said the plan was first approved unanimously on March 10, 2020.

However, in April 2021, the owners were instructed by former Planning Director Sean Garrett to stop all work until they had an approved site plan. This meant they would not be able to apply for the building permit needed for the bathhouse, which they were granted until March 2022 to finish.

The board held a public hearing on April 27, 2021, for its special review use after violations were reported in the park. They were ready to cancel the SRU due to the violations.

The three allegations of violations at the time included the installation of structures that weren’t approved or clearly indicated on the plan of the site, operating the SRU in breach of the conditions of approval as drainage features were not in place, and garbage, trash, and other debris being placed on site.

Garrett said that all violations had been corrected as of the day before that meeting, and the business was operating in compliance at that time.

Planning Director Mica Simpleman said recent inspections had found a range of violations, such as wrecked and unregistered vehicles on the land, a commercial truck parked at a space that apparently was being used as a contractor’s yard, a hose and transfer tank next to the dump station, the non-potable tank had collapsed, a mattress was laying underneath a camper, another camper didn’t have its sewage hoses capped, there was only one dumpster for all of the lots, campers had junk around them, there were seven dogs on the property, three different lots had what appeared to be permanent dog pens, and one camper had notice of eviction on the door.

This inspection was conducted on Monday.

“At that time, there were numerous campers that been there for more than 90 days; this was confirmed by prior and current photos,” Simpleman said.

“Two campers had items stored underneath the campers, and one had junk stacked up to conclude a standard refrigerator. The dump station has hoses laying around it, and the tank was still collapsed.” Simpleman added.

Paul Bond, a neighboring property owner, who was also a speaker at the March 10, 2020 meeting, expressed that most RVs have been in place for several months. Instead of seeing “luxury” and high-end RVs, he only sees black water and human waste collected by a camper in a small tote, drug behind a vehicle, and dumped into a vault in the ground.

“Phantom Canyon RV Park is over the wastewater capacity and now can become a state issue,” he said.

“We were originally told that this would be a luxury RV park, but we’ve seen the pictures from the visits over time – there is nothing that I would say is luxurious,” said Commission Chair Debbie Bell.

“We also were guaranteed that you would be focusing on self-contained RVs only – only vehicles ten years old or newer would be allowed except for the instance of some rebuilds,” Bell said.

The photos revealed that many RVs are more than ten years or at 30 or so years old in some instances.

Bell asked co-owner Mitch Slatin to explain why the park isn’t complying with so many of the rules.

“I don’t have the right to take a gun and put it to someone’s head and force them to act that’s not something that is legal to do. I have procedures that I have to do, eviction procedures,” Slatin said. “That is the best I can do under the law.”

“We look forward to finally being able to move forward and finally being able to build a park,” he said.

“That’s been the problem – we have not been allowed to build the park. You allowed us to open on March 10, 2020, but after that, every time we took a step to build the park, we were told to stop. For two years, we were told not to do anything. Let us build a park. Let us build it right, and we will give you the product we promised.”

The board is anticipated to make a decision on February 8.

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